Illustration by Valfre.
Being an expat here in France, sometimes I feel a bit out of touch with what's abuzz in the States, especially with television shows. Although we're fully equipped with internet, we're definitely not the first "in the know". We usually find out what shows are good a drop later, and then it takes another few weeks for it to be available on the internet. Well at least for me anyway. Carving out January and most likely February to hibernate and catch up on what I have been missing, I queued up a handful of shows that I've been told by close friends that I would just love.
I'm lucky to have friends who have a good grasp on my tastes, and who in the past have been spot on with their suggestions. When they recommended to me The New Girl, I immediately fell in love with the writing and the entire cast (seriously, how could you not?). The same was with The Mindy Project and especially the uber-quirky, and completely ridiculous sketch comedy Portlandia. But to be fair on that one, I'm a little biased. I went to the same liberal college as Carrie Brownstein, so there's a smidge of Evergreen pride influencing that decision. I expected the same success when they encouraged me to check out HBO's newest envelope pusher, Girls.
After all the positive attention the show has been receiving, I went in wanting to love it and ready to laugh. But I didn't. It just made me feel really sad, especially for some of the members of the younger generation. The show's pilot immediately rubbed me the wrong way when the lead character, who has recently been labeled the voice of a generation (thankfully not mine, I'm too old), was appalled and almost aghast that at the age of 24 her parents would no longer support her living in New York City. Thankfully this theme doesn't continue throughout the series, but it struck a chord by the message that it sends.
I had suspicions about some of the younger generation feeling entitled and "over qualified" to work odd jobs to make ends meet, and this somewhat confirmed it (I know, it's tv, but still). I even see it in some of the younger members of my own family who would sooner close their Instagram accounts, than tie up their free
Facebook time to work as someone's assistant. Am I wrong to think this is nuts? Isn't that what your early 20s are about? Paying your dues and gaining life experience, even if it isn't ideal at first? I know I got beat up while earning pennies from my first fashion boss who is a notorious tyrant, and looking back eight years later, I'm grateful for it. I also came from the school of thinking that no one forces us to live in glamorous cities, and if we want to stay then we'd have to make it work. Blaming the rough post 9/11 economy was simply never an option.
While the few episodes of Girls have been a walk down memory lane of my days commuting into the city from Brooklyn, living in a dingy apartment building that seriously smelled like cat piss and pot, and dating non-committal trust fund "writers" and "directors" whom I allowed to treat me like the trash collected every Tuesday on Driggs, it also reminds me of the reasons why I left.
Paris has certainly not been a cake walk, and the struggles here trumped anything I had ever faced in Brooklyn and LA combined, but it was all part of the experience. I can't help but chuckle over the response I would get from my mother had I ever asked her to support me while I "figured things out" in Paris.
What do you think?
Are my observations a bit harsh?
Or is there a definite shift in work ethic?